All my reading life I’ve loved libraries, as I got older bookshops took over because library opening hours are not always convenient for working people. We always visit libraries whenever we travel to cities. Birmingham and Seoul stand out as two of the best. Yesterday I was in our local library doing some admin for a book group. Not planning to get anything for myself I had a quick wander around in case something irresistible caught my eye. Two books leapt out at me, not because they would take me on new journeys but because they reminded me of journeys already taken.
Alan Johnson’s In My Life will be the second Alan Johnson book I’ve read. The first one The Long and Winding Road was the third book of his memoirs. I have yet to read the first two parts. The Long and Winding Road was significant to me because during the period it covered we were neighbours, not close, but some of his roads were my roads and when his days of secure chauffeur driven cars were over we shared our regular commute into Victoria or London Bridge. Obviously like proper London commuters we never made eye contact.
Alan Johnson is not the only recognisable face seen on the platforms of Gipsy Hill Station.
One stands out as the ‘ most’ famous. Fanny, the Gipsy Hill Cat. Famous throughout London for her duty of care to the commuters of South London. She has her own station waiting room.
and is nearly always on hand for cuddles or ticket checking.
Spiri Tsintziras book Afternoons in Itheka is the second book that grabbed me and is the second based in Itheka that I have read.The first was North of Ithaka by Eleni Gage, a book that fueled a trip to Itheka last summer.
The trip to Ithaka was serendipitous and wonderful. It is such a peaceful island.
We had a huge rustic supper in a general store and occasional cafe.
Some of the artwork was surprising.
The food was everything you would expect of Greek hospitality. Comforting, delicious and never ending.
Reading is my favourite pastime, it gives me time and location travel. Sometimes backwards like these two books but often projecting me forward to adventures as yet unknown.